Prayer Pastors are the “bedrock of the Street Pastor movement”
Many of us will be familiar with the work of the Street Pastors who offer reassurance, safety and support to those on our streets between 10.30pm and 3am on a Friday and Saturday night. What is less well known is the crucial part played by Prayer Pastors in supporting the teams out on the streets.
Diane Hurst, Exeter Street Pastors Coordinator, said “Prayer is the bedrock of the street pastor movement, and we wouldn’t deploy without prayer pastors. They are the powerhouse behind the scenes, bringing everything that happens on the street to God and expecting and getting His answer, in some cases immediately.”
In Exeter there are a minimum of two Prayer Pastors who stay in the base at Unlimited Church and support the teams on the street, praying into situations like violent fights or lost phones. Street Pastors and Prayer Pastors can testify first hand to the effectiveness of such prayers. Diane says many of the Prayer Pastors comment on how valuable the role is to them. She said “One lady told me, ‘I am more blessed than I imagined by serving this ministry; my relationship with God deepens as I fellowship with others and witness God working in the lives of people on the streets of Exeter’.”
The crucial role played by the Prayer Pastors means that, if there are not enough Prayer Pastors available, there will be fewer teams on the streets. Diane said “We don’t deploy unless there are two prayer pastors at base, and therefore sometimes that means that the street pastors need to stay in and pray. This can result in just one team going out rather than two teams.” You don’t have to be particularly gifted at praying to be a Prayer Pastor- you just need to be a committed Christian, over 18, take an active part in a local church, and be available to cover one prayer shift a month.
Street Pastors was pioneered in London in 2003 by Les Isaac. There are now more than 300 towns across the UK who have a Street Pastors team, 11 of which are in Devon (Exeter, Plymouth, Barnstaple, Bideford, Tiverton, Okehampton, Cullompton, Tavistock, Torquay, Ivybridge and Totnes). Training for new recruits in Exeter starts on 24 February. If you are interested in getting involved in Exeter or anywhere else see: https://www.streetpastors.org/